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Apple set to release bigger-screen iPhones

Apple is planning to release two new versions of its iPhones with larger screens this year to meet competition from rival handset makers, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

NEW YORK: Apple is planning to release two new versions of its iPhones with larger screens this year to meet competition from rival handset makers, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The report, which follows rumours circulating for several weeks on technology blogs, indicates Apple will come out with the two devices in the second half of 2014.

It said one will have a screen larger than 4.5 inches (11.4 centimetres) diagonally, compared with the four-inch display on current iPhones.

A second model will have a display bigger than five inches, according to the report, which said both would have metal casings.

But Apple will not be using curved displays used by some rivals including Samsung and LG of South Korea.

The news comes amid broad success of large-screen smartphones, sometimes called "phablets" because they combine the features of a phone and tablet computer.

Samsung's Galaxy Note series, with a 5.7-inch display, is one example of a successful phablet.

Juniper Research forecast this week that shipments of phablets will breach 120 million units by the year 2018. An estimated 20 million phablets were shipped last year, according to Juniper.

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